Friendship, Listening, and Empathy: A Prayer GuideTwo Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeSabbath Keeping FastingA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationPersonality Type in CongregationsPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Types of reflecting, a listening skill

Lynne Baab • Tuesday October 31 2023

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Types of reflecting, a listening skill

The listening skill reflection or reflecting can range from simple to complex. I want to open this post with a story about the most challenging form of reflecting, drawing implications:

When we moved to New Zealand in 2007, we rented out our Seattle house. We put a lock on the door of the family room in the basement and stored our furniture and my hundreds of books there. After two years, our tenants wanted to buy the house, and the timing felt right. So we returned to Seattle and had a giant sale of most of the stuff in that family room,...

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Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: One more way reflecting helps us

Lynne Baab • Tuesday October 17 2023

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: One more way reflecting helps us

Two weeks ago, I opened a post with a story about a friend who was telling me about the funeral she attended. I asked you to imagine that I was watching her body language. Because she was drooping a bit and had a sad expression on her face, I imagined that I said to her, “You look really sad.” That’s a form of reflecting or reflection, a listening skill where we make a brief statement about what we’re observing in the person’s body language, tone of voice, or words. I said that my words were an invitation for her to talk...

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Friendship, loneliness and prayer: A listening skill with two purposes

Lynne Baab • Tuesday October 3 2023

Friendship, loneliness and prayer: A listening skill with two purposes

Imagine that a friend is telling me about a funeral she attended. I’m watching her body language, and I say, “You look really sad.” She continues by describing how much the person meant to her. Then she outlines the whole funeral service in detail, including the postlude, a Bach organ piece in a minor key that spoke to her in her sadness. I am getting pretty bored with all the funeral details, so I pick up on the one thing she said that interests me. I love Bach, especially on an organ, so I’m hoping she’ll give some more details about...

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Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: A “small” listening skill

Lynne Baab • Wednesday September 20 2023

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: A “small” listening skill

Imagine a scene where you are talking to someone you don’t know well. Perhaps it’s coffee hour at church, a neighborhood event, or a work or school setting. You’ve never had an extended one-on-one conversation with this person before, but in this moment, no one interrupts you, and you find yourself talking at length. They listen so well that you find yourself talking about something you’re upset about. As the conversation draws to a close, you realize that some of the burden of frustration has been lifted. You feel heard by someone who understands.

How does your companion indicate that they are...

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